Octogenarian migrant smuggler gets 2 1/2 years prison

SAN DIEGO (AP) — An 85-year-old woman charged with running a female-dominated immigrant smuggling ring has been sentenced in San Diego to 21⁄2 years in prison.

Felicitas Gurrola apologized in a quiet voice in federal court Thursday, saying she was too nervous to say anything more. She stands out at a time when the smuggling business has turned increasingly violent and is dominated by large, mostly male operations that choose perilous routes through remote mountains and deserts.

Gurrola’s attorney told the judge that safety was a priority and she never put her customers in danger. He asked for a one-year prison term.

Prosecutors sought more than three years in prison, saying Gurrola led an organization that smuggled lots of people past border inspectors by having customers assume false identities.

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